The company, in partnership with AMP Clean Energy, will be constructing a new energy centre including electric and biomass boilers at its headquarters in Berwick-upon-Tweed – the UK's largest malting site – which will generate enough energy to replace the natural gas it currently uses in the production of its malt. Its biomass boiler will use locally and sustainably sourced woodchip while the high-voltage electric boiler will be powered by wind energy.
Simpsons Malt said the project will save approximately 25,000 tonnes of carbon each year (around 275g for every litre of whisky that its malt produces) and reduce the site's carbon emissions by around 80 per cent, representing a significant reduction in the company's scope 1 emissions (those derived from direct operations). It also marks a step towards decarbonising the Scotch whisky industry, of which it is a major supplier.
In addition, the project will employ cutting-edge energy storage technology and make use of wind energy that would otherwise be deemed surplus to the national grid's requirements. When there is no excess renewable energy generation, the centre will be capable of harnessing industrial heat from the malting process to generate electricity.
The construction of the energy centre is expected to be completed by summer 2024.
Steven Rowley, operations director at Simpsons Malt, said: “As a certified B Corporation, we are committed to minimising the impact of our operations on the environment and operating this energy centre at our Tweed Valley Maltings will be an important step in our objective of achieving net zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030, giving us a company-wide reduction of around 55 per cent.
“As a result, the malt that leaves our Tweed Valley Maltings – 90 per cent of which is destined for the distilling industry – will have a significantly reduced carbon footprint, helping our distilling customers deliver on their own sustainability objectives while also positively impacting the sector as a whole.”
Mark Tarry, CEO of AMP Clean Energy, said: “We are proud to be able to support Simpsons Malt on their decarbonisation journey with this trailblazing low-carbon project that will deliver large-scale scope 1 emission reductions. This initiative is so exciting because it uses local, low-value biomass as a form of energy storage that can provide decarbonisation when the wind doesn’t blow.”
“This is the first project of a kind in the UK and the first time a high-voltage electric boiler will decarbonise an industrial heat process. It could be replicated across other industries."